By on June 10, 2019

Wells Fargo will reportedly pay customers a minimum of $386 million to settle class-action claims that the bank covertly signed customers up for auto insurance they did not want or need.

Back in the summer of 2017, the bank found itself implicated in widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuses. Over a year later, Wells Fargo was slapped with a $1 billion fine from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to settle U.S. investigations into the company’s insurance and mortgage practices.

While the auto insurance plan ended in 2016, roughly 800,000 customers (or 600k by Wells Fargo’s estimates) were believed to be affected by the auto insurance issue over roughly a four-year period. For most, that meant being overcharged for insurance they didn’t need., but some customers ended up with their vehicles repossessed and their credit rating demolished, promoting the class-action suit.  (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2019

With mobile phones now a ubiquitous part of modern-day life, distracted driving has ballooned into a legitimate public safety problem. Alarming studies continue to pour in, with many claiming that driver cell phone use is likely underreported by authorities in crash reports. It’s hard to quantify, especially since nobody wants to admit that their moment of weakness may have contributed to an accident.

Add in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey that found 30 percent of drivers aged 21 to 34 believe texting doesn’t negatively impact their driving, and you’d be forgiven for picking up your keys with sweaty palms.

A new study claims the issue has only gotten worse, with drivers spending more time on their phone than ever before. However, the way the data was acquired is disconcerting in itself. Insurance companies are tapping traffic data startups to monitor people’s phones, and they’re already capable of tracking millions of American devices.  (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2018

Wells Fargo, Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Roughly a year ago, Wells Fargo got itself into hot water over shady business practices relating to widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuse. After a lengthy investigation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency eventually suggested Well Fargo pay $1 billion to “resolve” the governmental probes. President Donald Trump then said federal agencies needed to go after the bank hard to set an example. The agencies came back with a consent order saying it was time to pay up.

Despite the insurance issue affecting an estimated 800,000 customers over a four-year period, Wells Fargo seemed able to recover from the scandal and move past it. However, new allegations claim the bank’s leadership was aware customers were probably being overcharged several years before it finally cancelled the program.  (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2018

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla
The Model 3 was intended to be Tesla’s affordable alternative for the mass market and, for the most part, that’s what it has been. Granted, the automaker did opt to prioritize the production of higher trim levels as a way to maximize profitability. But, given its financial situation, it was an understandable strategy. The Model 3 is still the cheapest way to get into a Tesla. However, it’s not the cheapest vehicle to own — especially when it comes to insurance rates.

Last year, AAA said premiums on Tesla vehicles would likely go up 30 percent after reviewing data from the Highway Loss Data Institute. At the time, Tesla said the analysis was “severely flawed and is not reflective of reality.” But the auto club stated the HLDI’s findings matched its own research, as well as numerous other sources.

“Looking at a much broader set of countrywide data, we saw the same patterns observed in our own data, and that gave us the confidence to change rates,” said Anthony Ptasznik, chief actuary of AAA. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2018

wells fargo

Wells Fargo is getting slammed with all kinds of penalties over shady business practices. Currently prohibited from growing its business as investigators look into its practices, the bank has restructured itself after it was implicated in widespread auto insurance and mortgage lending abuse in the summer of 2017. It’s also still coping with an earlier scandal involving local branches opening fake accounts for customers.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency suggested Well Fargo pay $1 billion to “resolve” the governmental probes into those issues. That changed today when the bureau filed a consent order announcing it was time for the bank to pay up.

The fine applies to the mortgage lending issues, as well as Wells Fargo’s past practice of charging thousands of auto loan customers for insurance they didn’t need and often didn’t even know about. The move caused some borrowers to default on their loans, resulting in their vehicles being repossessed. The consent order mandates that the bank remediate those customers.  (Read More…)

By on November 14, 2017

NYC street driving

Insurance may be one of the greatest scams ever pulled on the general public, but it’s a very necessary evil. Right around the time the automobile became popular, people starting crashing them into things. By the 1920s, individual states began requiring drivers to purchase insurance — creating a pooled solution that covered at-fault drivers for damages they might be unable to pay otherwise.

However, not all drivers crash and not all vehicles incur the same costs when they take or deliver a beating. Collision losses might be astronomical for high-end sports cars but comparably moderate for midsize pickup trucks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute recently compiled the loss averages for hundreds of models, grouping them by segments, to establish how lightly-used autos stack up against each other.  (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

hurricane

Florida-area car dealerships are annoyed that insurance companies pulled the plug on policies earlier this week, fearing further hurricane-related payouts as Hurricane Irma approaches the coast. Insurers, including Progressive and Allstate, are reacting to losses incurred in Texas during Hurricane Harvey’s assault last month.

While this is standard practice for some companies, it isn’t a universal trend. State Farm, for example, said it would continue offering coverage until after a national hurricane advisory had been issued.  (Read More…)

By on July 28, 2017

Wells Fargo, Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Wells Fargo says it will reimburse roughly $80 million to customers erroneously charged for auto collateral protection insurance policies. Customers will be remediated after roughly 800,000 customers were essentially forced to purchase unnecessary auto insurance, despite many of them already having active policies.

The banking and financial services firm reviewed policies started between 2012 and 2017 and identified approximately 570,000 customers who could have been negatively impacted. It plans to issue refunds and other payments as compensation, especially to those who defaulted on their auto loans as a result of being overcharged.  (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2017

tesla model-s-rear, image: Tesla Motors

The American Automobile Association thinks Tesla cars should cost more to insure due to abnormally high claim frequencies and expenditures compared to similar vehicles. The group said premiums for Tesla’s Model X and Model S could increase by up to 30 percent, based primarily on data from the Highway Loss Data Institute. “Looking at a much broader set of countrywide data, we saw the same patterns observed in our own data, and that gave us the confidence to change rates,” said Anthony Ptasznik, chief actuary of AAA.

Obviously, Tesla Motors isn’t pleased and is offering a rebuttal before other insurers follow in AAA’s footsteps.  (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2016

Winter city snow

Boston, the city that gave us both the New Kids On The Block and Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, placed dead last on Allstate’s 2016 America’s Best Drivers List. With the weather in Beantown turning blustery and cold, the Car Talk slogan of “don’t drive like my brother” has become hauntingly sound advice.

However Boston isn’t a singular example of a city with overzealous insurance claimants and certainly isn’t only location about to get hit with seasonally inclement weather. There are plenty of places where you’ll want to look out for other drivers just as much as you will icy patches of road this winter.  (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2016

car insurance (State Farm/Flickr)

To quote Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

You certainly don’t need TTAC to tell you auto insurance premiums are on the rise. You already know rates are trending up, well in excess of inflation. Nonetheless, let’s unpack some of the factors that have the average American now spending more than $100 per month on auto insurance. (Read More…)

By on November 2, 2016

By James086 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In terms of the most basic adult behaviors, not leaving your keys in the car falls right behind feeding yourself without help and going to the bathroom like a big boy. It’s an uncomplicated concept that can be easily adhered to by anyone who has access to hands.

Despite this, one out of every eight vehicles stolen in the U.S. had the keys left inside by a person that society somehow deemed fit to operate a motor vehicle. Common sense is on a steady decline — and it’s a boon for thieves.

(Read More…)

By on June 4, 2016

press03-model-x-front-three-quarter-with-doors-open

Tesla Model X owners might want to double check their insurance coverage before hitting those rural highways in search of ecologically sensitive adventure.

Now that the electric SUV is rolling out of Fremont in bigger numbers, owners are starting to experience the normal headaches that come with vehicle ownership. One nagging issue owners are discovering is the cost of replacing the acres and acres of glass that make up the vehicle’s panoramic windshield. (Which happens to be the biggest in the industry.) (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Michigan is the state with the most expensive insurance in the United States. However, a potential overhaul could bring down those costs.

(Read More…)

By on March 11, 2015

Google Compare for Auto Insurance

Shopping around for an auto insurance policy? Google has a comparison tool that might just help you find what you seek.

(Read More…)

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